BEAUMONT - Funeral services will be held Monday for an electronics business owner from Beaumont who died when his helicopter crashed last week in Acadia Parish.
Hugh Kelley, 66, owned Allied Electrical Contractors, Inc. of Beaumont and Houston.
From Broussard's - Hugh Clifton Kelley, 66, of Beaumont, died Wednesday, October 10, 2012. A native of Beaumont, he was born to Mabel Hogue Kelley and Clifton Kelley on February 4, 1946. He worked hard from an early age to help his family, and this instilled in him a tremendous work ethic, that served him for the rest of his life. His ambition to make the most of himself was present early on, but truly changed forever, after serving as a Marine Corps Scout Sniper in the Vietnam War. Hugh would speak about that part of his life from time to time, but it was evident that near death experiences, and the horrors of war, motivated him to live life on his terms and for his ambitions.
Those experiences fostered in him a sense of living in the moment that was present in his eyes every time you saw him. He had a hunger for life that I have never seen in another person. The consistency of that vitality was one of the more amazing aspects of his character, for those that saw him frequently. Rain or shine, sick or well, Hugh woke up expecting to do something every day, and do it to the best of his abilities. This is why he accomplished so many things throughout his life. If he found an interest, Hugh pursued it until he succeeded or was satisfied. From flying, to drag racing, to ranching, to hunting the world over, he seemed to do it all. His determination was a defining part of his personality.
The quantity and quality of people that called him friend speaks volumes about his character. Once he embraced someone as a friend, Hugh would do anything in his power to help that person. He was always there to offer words of wisdom, or even a helping hand. His dependability was as absolute as the rising sun each morning. Everyone that knew him understood that if you needed Hugh Kelley, he would be there without question.
A character so much larger than life, that he seemed to be the only person you would see in a room full of people. Others can better tell the stories of his life regarding the wild things he did or the people he helped. Hugh was a man who loved his family and took care of the people around him. He wore everything about himself right on his sleeve for the world to see. He never flinched away from work, or a fight, and was always there for the people he cared about.
As a cornerstone of our community, he will be missed. As a member of our family, he will be mourned. As a father and a man without equal, he will be celebrated and cherished for inspiration of how to live life in the best way possible. He will be greatly missed by all the many people whose lives he touched.
Hugh attended Edwards Elementary, James Bowie Jr. High School, and graduated from French High School in 1964. He attended Lamar University and later served in the United States Marine Corps as a Scout Sniper, Force Recon, and Lance Corporal during the Vietnam Conflict. He was the owner of Allied Electrical Contractors, Inc. of Beaumont and Houston.
Hugh built and ran air boats in his younger years and then developed a love for flying. He was an accomplished instrumented rated pilot of both airplanes and helicopters. He began hunting at the J.D. Murphree Wildlife Refuge and the Bessie Heights Marsh. He loved to gig frogs in the Neches River and the bayous around Rose City, Texas; and hunting in Mexico, Montana, Mississippi, Louisiana, Africa, and Colorado, where also some of his favorite places.
Hugh loved his family and grandchildren. He loved to spend time at his farm in Nome, Texas. Hugh was loved by his employees, and a true friend to everyone he knew.
Survivors include his wife, Jerry Lynne Kelley of Beaumont; sons, Kelly Kelley and his wife, Rhonda, of Beaumont; and Joe Kelley and his wife, Melody of Port Arthur; and known as “Paw-Paw” to his grandchildren, Dylan, Kristopher, Sean, Brett, Kendra, and Adam.
He is preceded in death by his parents; and sister, Georgia Ann Rusek.
A gathering of Mr. Kelley's family and friends will be from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m., Sunday, October 14, 2012, at Broussard's, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont. His funeral service will be 11:00 a.m., Monday, October 15, 2012, at Wesley United Methodist Church, 3810 North Major Drive, Beaumont. Interment to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont with Mike Carrell, Leonard Cessac, Mike Hutson, Burke Meredith, Lee Murphy, Alvin Newton, D.J. Penning, Dave Puckett, Dr. Joel Smith, Haywood Walker, and Felix Webber serving as pallbearers.
Memorial Contributions may be made to The Arc of Greater Beaumont, 700 North Street, Suite Q, Beaumont, Texas 77701 or visit www.arcobmt.org; or All Saints Episcopal School, 4108 Delaware Street, Beaumont, Texas 77706 or visit www.allsaints-beaumont.org